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Austin Conference Educates Public On Autism Challenges in Community

Autism Friendly Austin initiative partnered with the Autism Society of Minnesota for an autism conference.

Posted: Jun 13, 2019 6:17 PM

AUSTIN, Minn- Autism impacts one in every 59 kids. That is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thursday in Austin families, educators and community leaders attended a conference to learn how to best help people with autism. Autism Friendly Austin initiative partnered with the Autism Society of Minnesota for an autism conference.

Julie and Pat Farnsworth's two teenagers have autism.Their son Logan was diagnosed at the age of three. Justin was diagnosed one year later.

" It's a challenge for both,” said Pat Farnsworth. “They both have there different sets of problems and challenges you got to learn to adapt to both."

The Farnsworth says it's an uphill battle.

"In Southern Minnesota when my boys were younger there weren’t that many resources and so the Hormel Historic Home saw a need to bridge the gap.”

Thanks to groups like the Hormel Foundation, United Way of Mower County resources have become readily available. The Farnsworth says the program Autism Friendly have helped their sons take the next steps in their lives. Autism Friendly is a community initiative that educates local business so they are aware of how to approach people with autism and even how to offer them employment opportunities.

Mary Barinka with the Hormel Historic Home says it's important that local business understand the needs of those with autism.

“Through education, we can help businesses understand the sensitivities and what certain behaviors might mean," said Barinka.

The Farnsworth say they are thankful for those that have to learn to be patient and accommodating of their kid's needs and they hope others will join the initiative.

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